Crews working to restore power to SF City Hall

November 14, 2012 10:35:11 PM PST
A lot of people at San Francisco City Hall were forced to work in the dark Wednesday after an electrical fire knocked out power the night before. Crews have been working since then to get the juice back.

UPDATE: Power was fully restored by 7:15 p.m. and all City Hall operations are expected to resume normally on Thursday.

Cleanup wrapped up in the basement of City Hall where that electrical fire erupted, setting off the sprinkler system with additional water from fire department hoses.

"There was a little bit of water on the ground in City Hall," Department of Public Works Communications Director Rachel Gordon said. "It was really contained, though, to our utility rooms."

Emergency generators kicked in immediately as PG&E crew worked to fix the damage and figure out what went wrong. It's meant power restrictions and fewer lights on in the building, especially on the top two floors.

Halls were dark and so were rooms. The Board of Supervisor's chamber was lit with television lights. In the Sheriff's office they relied on sunlight and one bulb. But their computers were down and no work can be processed.

Some meetings were cancelled. Employees have had to be flexible.

"We don't have a lot of power in here right now," Gordon said. "We sent people to other offices as every department that works in city hall is saying 'can your employees work somewhere else or can they work at home.'"

They have replaced the section that caught fire. There was no damage anywhere else.

"We're checking out everything else and investigating what possible could be compromised as a result of the intense temperatures that were in that electrical room," said Mayor Ed Lee.

The fire hit around 9:30 p.m., just as a meeting was wrapping up. Everyone was safely evacuated. Ironically it was a conference of the U.S. Green Building Council.

They say it will be up to three days before they know what caused the blaze. Mayor Lee also points out the need for an extra generator. He says it's been paid for, it just hasn't been installed yet.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


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